I had the pleasure of attending the 10th Annual Recruitment & Retention Conference hosted by the ACS and TCA last week in Nashville, TN. Held at the Renaissance Hotel (a major improvement over the previous year) the conference had over 300 recruiting and retention professionals in attendance. This conference gave carriers the opportunity to learn new strategies relating to driver recruiting and retention as well as allow these professionals to network with their industry peers.
The one common theme that quickly came to light was that these 300 recruiting professionals were all trying to recruit the same 5 drivers. Competition for qualified drivers is at an all time high, and the marketplace for those good drivers who are willing to change companies is at an all time low.
While there were many great speakers and some very informative breakout sessions during the conference, I am going to focus on three that stood out from the rest. The first was consultant Mike Frank who started the morning off in the general session speaking about what he calls the “Eight Great Traits of Superstar Recruiters.” While he gave a very a light-hearted and informative talk about the importance of leadership traits, selling skills and the ability to speak and listen when it comes to recruiting, his message was incredibly powerful. Some of his quotes include “As badly as you may need more drivers, it is a waste of time hiring the wrong ones” & “Some people want to work and others do not; stop chasing those who really do not want to work and focus your attention on those who want to work”!
The second session that stood out was Eric Starks, president of FTR Associates, as he addressed the impact of the current economic marketplace and its relationship to driver recruitment. His easy-to-read and understand graphics as well as his ability to relate with his audience kept everyone’s attention and came away with hope that 2013 will be a good year for trucking.
The last session I want to cover was led by TCA’s own Director of Safety David Heller and CSA Advisor Rose Kastrup. While it was billed as a small group discussion, there were well over 100 participants in the session who openly and candidly discussed their obstacles and opportunities facing their companies. What became very clear was that this group of recruiters is in desperate need of regulatory and compliance training so that they can better understand the world drivers and operations live in. How can anyone be effective at recruiting today if they do not understand the Hours of Service and what an EOBR is?
The opportunity for recruiting and safety / compliance to work together as one has never been more important than it is today. Companies and associations need to educate these professionals, get them in the same room talking constructively, and get them working together as one cohesive unit.
Nice job ACS and TCA! Great conference and look forward to next year!